I don’t usually talk about weekends because, honestly, not much happens. I do yard work. I read. We go to church on Sunday. But, every once in a while, something happens that I just can’t not write about (congratulations if you followed that double negative!). 

colonial market days mapFor the past few months Krystal’s been part of a core team working on a large event for Tryon Palace – even larger than Candlelight in terms of planning and people involved, believe it or not. This past weekend the Palace presented its first-ever Colonial Market Days. Think of it like a Renaissance Fair, but set (presumably) during America’s colonial period.

There were the ubiquitous pirates. We are in Eastern North Carolina, and Blackbeard lived just down the road. Literally. The show was funny enough, but suffered from a kind of slowness and off timing.

There was a “viewing farm” – not a petting zoo; no touching! – featuring rabbits, donkeys, and a few turkeys. Why turkeys? I have no idea. I took a picture of them simply because I’ve not been this close to one I haven’t been hunting, and they look decidedly different by that point.

Several tents were dedicated to the cultures of the original settlers of New Bern, so there were displays for the French, Swiss, German, English, and African peoples. I appreciated the bilingual signage in the Swiss/German tent; I always need to keep up with my German. One reenacting couple cooked food representative of the Swiss and Germans. On the day I visited, they were cooking bratwurst with cabbage and apples. It smelled so good! The African tent focused on their music, particularly drumming, but for some reason those picture files are reading as corrupted. sigh. The English set up an encampment with two tents and a fire over which they roasted a bird of some kind and used the ashes to warm a cobbler.

And here’s Krystal, dressed out in one of her site dresses with a parasol she borrowed from one of the English. And yes, she did get permission from the costumer, so it was approved period appropriate.

Colonial Market Krystal.JPG

There were food trucks, drink stands, and historic society tents. Four stages offered a venue for pirates, jugglers, drummers, musicians, magicians, and puppeteers putting on traditional Punch & Judy shows in all their original, terrifying gallows humor. Literally. I caught the very end of one of the magician’s shows and heard him have a conversation with a young boy impressed with the show. As they were talking about what makes a good magician, the man told the boy

Remember: real magic is found in books. Reading will take you to times and places that no magician ever can and never will.

By far the best performers at the Market Days were the Nickel Shakespeare Girls. It’s a very audience-driven show, and for that reason no two shows are ever the same. Their sign drew me in for two reasons: (1) Shakespeare & (2) any play? really? Well, let’s just see about that.

The premise is this: the audience can call out the title of any of Shakespeare’s plays, and the girls will present a short (less than a minute) scene from the play in a funny yet entertaining manner. I let others go first to get a feel for the troupe, and they seemed the real deal when they presented a scene from Cymbeline. But, me being me, I waited until the rest of the audience had exhausted the more common plays and then said, during a lull, “Titus Andronicus” – and boy, did they deliver:

The show was so good I went back a second time a few hours later. This time I thought I’d really throw a wrench into things. The audience was much more knowledgeable about Shakespeare, with one guest requesting Richard II. But near the end came another lull, so I asked for Troilus and Cressida. The troop members looked at each other, looked back at me (I happened to be sitting on the front row) and said

OK, but remember you asked for it.

Then, this happened:

Here’s King Lear:

Macbeth (in musical form!)

Henry V

And finally, Comedy of Errors:

If you ever get the chance to see this troupe, do it!

I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

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